Latest posts by obelixx

Overwintering Chilli's

Posted: 28/10/2015 at 22:38

I have moved 7 of my best chili plants from the unheated greenhouse to indoor window boxes.  One is on the kitchen window sill and on on another south facing window sill upstairs.  I expect to keep them going all winter and into spring.   I have given others away to a gardening friend who will keep them in her heated greenhouse.

I've kept chillies going this way before and had no problems with pests or diseases.   Just need to make sure they're fed occasionally between waterings and don't have too much radiator heat without being spritzed occasionally.

Which plants to grow

Posted: 27/10/2015 at 21:57

David Austin list some good perfumed pink or white rambling roses, some of which have repeat flowering.  http://www.davidaustinroses.co.uk/fragrant/most-fragrant-rambling Phyllis Bide is another one to check out.

I would think ramblers would be most amenable to training over your arch as they are not as stiff as climbers.

Sharpening garden tools

Posted: 27/10/2015 at 11:38

I have a large kitchen steel which I find works on my loppers and non stainless steel trowels.  For my secateurs I use a tiny 4" long steel I bought at Malvern flower show from a man selling them as fishing knife sharpening tools.  I suggested he label them as secateur and pruning knife sharpening tools and he could sell many more.

Taking cuttings

Posted: 27/10/2015 at 11:36

Autumn to winter is the best time to take hardwood cuttings form shrubs.

You can do them outdoors in a sheltered spot by simply making a slit trench with your spade, dropping some fin grit down the bottom and then inserting pencil sized cuttings at regular intervals and pushing the soil back.

However, I find ceanothus and variegated euonymous can suffer in cold winters so you may want to do them in deep pots of free draining compost and keep them in a cold frame or greenhouse over winter.  


Parsnips in France

Posted: 27/10/2015 at 11:02

My MIL did roast potatoes from raw in a deep fat fryer and roast pork in an oven bag to keep the oven clean - which she didn't - and then wondered why it didn't crackle.   All veg cooked to a surrender and all meat very well cooked.   She was a gadget woman and had a full Kenwod Chef system and all sorts of other toys.   Funnily enough she was good at pastry but not cakes, scones, bread or biscuits.

We love parsnips - roast on their own or with carrots and red onions and a dash of balsamic; souped; baked with sausages, red onions and apples; parsnip and maple syrup cake...........




Posted: 27/10/2015 at 08:18

Morning all.  Haven't popped in here for ages.  I trust all are well.

Bright and sunny here after a mist overnight.  We got up to 17C yesterday for a brief while in the afternoon.  Hope it does that again today as i'm actually free to garden all afternoon.  Just have to do a wee supermarket run and walk the dogs first.

It's really muddy out there as the potato and sugar beet harvesting continues so the dogs come home filthy and needing a shower and a good rub down afterwards.

Don't like the dark evenings now cos OH likes to walk the dogs to de-stress when he gets in from work.   Still, he retires at the end of the year so not a problem for much longer.

Question: Hand held tools

Posted: 26/10/2015 at 17:04

Apart from my drill and scrwdrver for attaching new bird feerder hooks or hanging baskets or fixing trellis, the only electric hand held tool I use in the garden is a hedge trimmer but it's rather large and unwieldy so I'd quite like one that is smaller, very sharp and can be used without straining my shoulders.  

I reckon one with a smaller blade and weight would be brilliant for trimming my dwarf conifers, box hedge and any topiary I may attempt in the future.

Bark mulch

Posted: 26/10/2015 at 16:35

It depends what tree they came from as some barks do have a strong natural perfume.   

Check the bag labelling carefully before spreading on your garden in case they have been treated with some noxious chemical that will damage your plants and/or soil.

Parsnips in France

Posted: 26/10/2015 at 11:33

Excellent tip Berghill.  Thanks.   We're planning to move when OH retires and may end up on a parsnip free zone.

Steve - Belgian soils vary widely and so do rain levels.   From what I've seen driving around, Flemish field crops tend to be leeks, carrots, beans, corn, beetroot.  They do hydroponc salads and toms and pepers in greenhouses and polytunnels.

Round here it's all cereals and sweet corn in rotation with potatoes, sugar beet and chicons with mustard for a green manure.    Oil seed rape is becoming more prevalent and we still get flax in some fields but not as much as before.   

Between here and north east Flanders there are acres and acres of espaliered apples and pears in what is known as the Hesbaye.  Further south around Wépion they are famous for their strawberries.


Parsnips in France

Posted: 26/10/2015 at 10:09

I can now get decent parsnips here, both normal and organic at decent prices.   The one year I grew them they were immense and woody in the middle before we got anything like cold enough to have the frosts supposedly needed to improve the taste so I haven't bothered since.   I don't know if it was the soil, the climate that year or the wrong kind of parsnip.

Here is what the RHS advises - https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/grow-your-own/vegetables/parsnips 

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